A question for all you one up, two down players

cdrums21

Gold Member
If you play a kit that has one mounted tom and two floor toms, what are the sizes of the toms and why did you choose those sizes? Here's the thinking behind this question. I have a vintage Ludwig kit with a 14x10 mounted tom and 16x16 and 16x18 floor toms. That kit is awesome and so fun to play. The drums are the 3 ply maple shells, and I have the drums tuned a little higher than a "modern" kit, so they punch nicely and sound so sweet.

Now, I also have a 4 piece DW kit, 12x9 mounted tom, 16x14 floor tom and a 22x18 kick. I like the 4 piece vibe alot, but sometimes I would like to have one extra tom for certain fills, etc. I am strongly considering going with another floor tom, but I'm torn between a 14x12 or an 18x16.
One part of me says to go with the 14x12, it will be punchier when miked up through the PA, but a 14" floor tom seems so small to me. The other half of me says go with the 18" floor tom, but will it sound too muddy and not punchy enough in a PA mix? I'm split right down the middle on this one. With the 14", it would give me more of a higher pitched tom voice for certain fills, better than the lower rumblings of a larger floor tom, but with the 18", maybe I can try to tweak the tuning of my 16" floor tom up just a tad in order to allow the 18" floor tom to be tuned up a little as well to get more punch, plus the 18" will have more power in a rock setting, which is mainly what I play. What do you guys think? Sound engineers are welcome to respond as well!
 

Chunkaway

Silver Member
If you play a kit that has one mounted tom and two floor toms, what are the sizes of the toms and why did you choose those sizes? Here's the thinking behind this question. I have a vintage Ludwig kit with a 14x10 mounted tom and 16x16 and 16x18 floor toms. That kit is awesome and so fun to play. The drums are the 3 ply maple shells, and I have the drums tuned a little higher than a "modern" kit, so they punch nicely and sound so sweet.

Now, I also have a 4 piece DW kit, 12x9 mounted tom, 16x14 floor tom and a 22x18 kick. I like the 4 piece vibe alot, but sometimes I would like to have one extra tom for certain fills, etc. I am strongly considering going with another floor tom, but I'm torn between a 14x12 or an 18x16.
One part of me says to go with the 14x12, it will be punchier when miked up through the PA, but a 14" floor tom seems so small to me. The other half of me says go with the 18" floor tom, but will it sound too muddy and not punchy enough in a PA mix? I'm split right down the middle on this one. With the 14", it would give me more of a higher pitched tom voice for certain fills, better than the lower rumblings of a larger floor tom, but with the 18", maybe I can try to tweak the tuning of my 16" floor tom up just a tad in order to allow the 18" floor tom to be tuned up a little as well to get more punch, plus the 18" will have more power in a rock setting, which is mainly what I play. What do you guys think? Sound engineers are welcome to respond as well!
I have a Ludwig Classic Maple in 12X8, 14X12, 16X14 and a 22X18.

I also have a C&C Mahogany in 12X8, 14X14, 16X16, and a 22X14.

Both of these kits work very well for rock, so no worries with a 14" floor tom. Unless you play in live situations where your kit is miced up, I'd go with a 14" floor. In my experience, the 18" just doesn't get heard well enough in unmiced situations.
 

Pocket-full-of-gold

Platinum Member
I think the 14 will give you a better spread on the DW kit. Perhaps I just like "neat" packages, but I think a 12, 14, 16 and 22 compliment each other nicely and provide a better tonal spread than a 12, 16, 18 and 22 would. Opinion only of course, but you've already got the 18 covered on the Luddy's, should you opt for the "big drum sound".

FWIW, I've not found 14" floors to be "too small" by any measure. It's the perfect fit between a 12 rack and 16 floor IMHO.
 

cdrums21

Gold Member
Cool, good points brought up by both of you, thanks! Ok 2 votes for the 14", zero for the 18". Any others?
 

Aeolian

Platinum Member
Unless you are tuning those huge drums up high to make a lot of sound, a la Baker or Bonham, an 18" FT gets lost in the mix. The way most folks tune drums down low these days an 18 is down where the kick drum lives. But without the attack and being mic'd and eq'd in the PA to get people's attention. All you hear FOH is a rumble. Or maybe if it's mic'd right, you'll hear the stick hit it, but no tone. The sustain and timbre get lost between the kick, bass guitar, and any low notes on keys or guitarists playing 4x12 stacks (which have a hump right in the same frequency area). Even a low tuned 16 can get lost. Big drums are a lot of fun to play at home, and maybe in a solo they can add some impressive sounds. But while the song is going on, they're lost.

Personally, I like the toms up above the bass instruments where they have their own home. You can play them off the kick and get some melodic things going because they sound distinctly different.
 

razorx

Platinum Member
I play this set up every now and then. I love the sound of 12, 14,16. The only reason i play it this way is because my 14 floor tom is square and can't be put on a tom stand. If were to custom order a one up two down set up I would go 14,16,18 with a 24 or 26 kick. That set up is pure thunder when you play it and I love it.
 

MikeM

Platinum Member
Since you already have a kit with the 14/16/18, I'd do the other 12/14/16. You know, just for something different.

But I'm like you, I'm not a fan of the 14 floors, either. I had one before and it just felt too small to me, but then again, I do like a fair amount of tension on my toms.

My kit sort of resides smack in between your two. It's got a 9x13 rack, with a 14x15 and a 16x18. I like that spread quite a bit. I had a kit in a past life with 16/18 fts and just couldn't get the separation I wanted (I probably had them tuned too low, though). Actually, that kit was a 12/16/18. I two inch jump between toms that big didn't seem like enough, so I smallered my first floor and biggered my rack tom.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it!
 

mikeg

Senior Member
I use 20x22 kick, 9x13 Rack, 13x14 floor, 14x16 floor. These sizes work great for rock and blues. My other kit has a 16x18 floor tom and like others have pointed out, it tends to get lost in the mix unless you tune it up or have a skilled sound engineer.
 

jer

Silver Member
I run a 9x10, 14x14, 16x16.

I aim to tune and play the 14 as though it were my "last" tom and the 16 kinda acts as an "effect" drum more than the last tom in a sequence. Having said that, if I'm doing a gig with a 4-piece, the 16 stays at home.

I've never felt it wasn't enough, especially mic'd. Another vote for the 14 here, but maybe consider the 14" depth?
 

Naigewron

Platinum Member
I use 12x10, 14x14 and 16x16 toms. I love the diameters, but I often wish they were a bit shallower (say 12x8, 14x12 and 16x14). It would make the 12" tom easier to position, give my floor toms a bit more punch and of course, they would be easier to haul around and fit in my car :)

The reason for going with 12, 14, 16 was that I like the bigger sizes, and I basically tune them as low as they will comfortably go. I do like 18" toms, but as stated above, tehy tend to get lost in the mix and not retain much tone, and in addition to that they're quite cumbersome to haul around.

However, although I love the 14/16 floor tom combo, my favourite size of the two is the 16. However, the 14" tom is the most comfortable to play and reach, so it gets used a lot more. Like with so many things when it comes to drum selection and setup, it's a compromise, and it's the one that works best for me. I've seen some players reverse the two floor toms, but that doesn't suit my playing at all.

If I ever get a drum tech and roadies, I'd probably place an 18" tom on my left, and possibly add a 10" tom as well (I have a 10" tom lying around, but it's not being used). However, since I can only be bothered carrying around and setting up three toms at the most, I went for my three favourites; 12, 14 and 16.
 

cdrums21

Gold Member
Thanks guys.....I love this forum. I pulled the trigger on a 14x12 floor tom. Taking everything into consideration, I think the 12/14/16 combo will sound really nice, especially miced up through a PA. Those drums should punch. I think I'll tune them so there is a bit more of a seperation in notes between the 12 and 14 than the 14 and 16. That way I think the 14 will sound more "floor tomish" rather than a mounted tom. Thanks again for your input.
 

Chonson

Senior Member
Most kits I've done are 12-14-16 but my jazz series kit is 12-14-18 which I actually really like as a change of pace.
 

ChipJohns

Senior Member
normal - 10"/14"/16"/22"

A bigger place I may swap the 10" for a 12"

I'm on the other side of the fence. My style of playing lends to smaller drums
 

Living Dead Drummer

Platinum Member
I have 10x12 Rack, 12x14 and 14x16 Floors. Everything is 2" up from the last size. It's a real nice balance, though I like the sound of my 16 as a main floor over the 14.
 

Davo-London

Gold Member
I'm not a fan of the 2 down arrangement, just because of the accessibility of the second floor tom and the fear that it won't be used. Having a 4-piece is fine as it is; many players go for this arrangement.

Davo
 

Winston_Wolf

Platinum Member
For quite a while I played a 2-up, 2-down set up that used 8", 10", 12", and 14" toms. I originally set it up that way as a half-hearted experiment knowing that a 12" tom couldn't possibly be successful in the "first floor tom" position, but I must have been bored that day...

However, the 12" and 14" tuned down to appropriate pitches pretty easily, and I really liked the balance of melodic and compact my kit had when set up like that. Not only did it keep the second floor tom from feeling like it was too far out, but the smaller "up" toms also allowed me to bring the ride and hi hats in a little closer as well.

Granted, I'm not paying in a Zeppelin cover band, and I realize 12 and 14 floor toms aren't for everyone, but that little experiment taught me not to assume too much about the capabilities (or limitations) of my drums before actually trying it out.
 

ccsimms

Senior Member
So it seems like it really depends on which one you are going to be using the most, I would probably go with the 18 myself just because I prefer that range...
 
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